Roderica will lead JPEF's convening strategy.
The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is thrilled to welcome a new member to our dynamic team: Roderica Johnson, Director of Engagement & Partnerships. In her role, Roderica will lead JPEF's convening strategy, including recruiting and retaining diverse teachers, improving third-grade reading skills, and planning the EDDY Awards, a celebration of impact.
To introduce Roderica to the community, we asked her a few questions about what brings her to JPEF at this important moment.
Why does public education matter to you personally?
Public Education matters to me personally for too many reasons to count. If I had to state my top three, they would be:
- Children deserve adequate education to allow them to become whatever they want to be in life.
- Teachers are superheroes and need more support.
- I attended public schools alongside everyone in my family.
Tell us about a teacher who made an impact on your life.
Definitely hard to narrow it down to just one.
It will have to be between Mrs. Mattie Williams, my fourth grade teacher, and Mr. Noonan, my high school journalism teacher.
Mrs. Williams was one of the first teachers who exposed me to the idea of college. (She was pretty adamant about it, which I’m so grateful for now!) She encouraged us in so many ways, from reading, to using her own resources to get us custom shirts for field day, to dressing up as a clown!
Mr. Noonan was one of the coolest teachers at Englewood. I still don’t understand how he was able to inspire a bunch of teenagers to read, join the journalism club, and write for the school paper. We talked about real issues in class like racism, the role the media played in creating unrealistic expectations for women… things that were way ahead of their time! He was also very instrumental in helping me decide my career path outside of high school, as I constantly went back to visit.
Fun fact: both of these teachers taught myself and my younger sister. After talking with her, we both agree they played a huge role in our lives. Super cool!
Why are you excited to lead JPEF’s convening strategy, especially around teacher diversity?
I’m most excited about helping make a difference in the community that I grew up in and the schools that have touched my life and my family - including my siblings and now my nieces and nephews. When looking at teacher diversity, I’m excited to help lead this effort so that there’s more representation for students who look like me, but also better environments for those same students to thrive in.